We Never Have Sex Anymore

Spotify: https://spoti.fi/3uyrXBJ

YouTube: https://bit.ly/39WGYFz

I found this in the Apple Music New in Rock  playlist.

It started off with St. Vincent. Am I the only person scratching my head over the hosannas over her? She plays guitar, she tests the limits, but do I actually want to listen to this music? “The Melting of the Sun” is more palatable than most of her work, I felt if I listened more than once I could eventually come to like it, but I had no desire to do so.

As for the second track, Kaleo’s “Skinny”…I’ll admit I wasn’t thrilled the first time I heard it, but I listened again today via Jeff Pollack’s weekly list and the light went off (or is it on?)

You see “Skinny” starts off quietly, when you’re previewing tracks it doesn’t jump out at you, I skipped through it after a brief sample on the Apple playlist, but if you let it ride, as I did with the Pollack iteration today, it builds and it’s got a catchy chorus, it could almost make you believe rock could come back. Ultimately it’s the chorus, but the pre-chorus that leads into it sets it all up and it verges on magical, maybe if we’re looking for rock innovation we’ve got to go outside U.S. borders where we have too much heaviness without melody, to countries where rock never truly died, where more avenues of music get exposure, where people are still interested in forming bands. As for the lyrics… You do have to stay skinny, but having said that there’s a level of misogyny and darkness that you can’t get away with if you’re mainstream these days, the PC police will come out and get ya, but the truth is if you’re not Lil Nas X, if you’re not in the Spotify Top 50, few are paying attention.

But the winner is Offspring’s “We Never Have Sex Anymore,” the third cut on the aforementioned Apple Music playlist.

Desmond Child learned from Bob Crewe that you start with the title, and you build the song from there. And this is a great title, and you think it’s a viewpoint from the aged, since Dexter Holland is 55, but that’s completely untrue, “We Never Have Sex Anymore” applies at any age, assuming you’ve ever had a girlfriend, have had sex, which many listeners, many fans, will never have had.

And the truth is Dexter Holland is an anomaly in music today, like Queen guitarist Brian May, he’s highly educated, he’s got a PhD in molecular biology, and you know that could not have been easy. And you’ve got to be intelligent to create something like “We Never Have Sex Anymore,” aware of the modern market, aware that you have to grab people (by the balls?) immediately or your track will be skipped, and sans changes you’ve got little, you want some melody, you want to construct a minor masterpiece, it’s not about the album but the single, and the truth is the Offspring have a new album imminent, but they’re working the wrong track, the nowhere near as good as, “Let the Bad Times Roll,” I don’t know how they made that decision, probably some label wanker in radio promotion who is second-guessing radio station playlists, trying to find something that fits when the truth is that’s the completely wrong paradigm in today’s streaming first world. You lead with your best track. “Let the Bad Time Roll” can roll right over you, it sounds like classic Offspring, almost juvenile, appealing to teenagers, but the truth is “We Never Have Sex Anymore” makes you think, it breathes, it’s a roller coaster of sounds and dynamics, it’s infectious, not the best track you’ve ever heard, but if you hear it once you won’t forget it, if you hear it twice you’ll sing it to yourself for months.

It’s popping from the first note, that bass, and then it enters a ska-crazy phase, and then that drops out and Dexter comes in singing:

“We never have sex anymore

We never roll around on the floor like we did so long ago”

But really it’s the Cheap Trickish guitar changes at the end of the second line and the lead riff that engage you, remember when it was all about hooks? That’s what the guitar provides.

“You never yell at me anymore

You never want to even the score like you did so long ago”

This is the opposite of the hip-hop ethos, the woman is superior, it’s the man who’s being whipped around on the end of a chain. Even better is the phrase “even the score”… Oh, come on, have you been in a relationship, especially after it’s lasted, unlike the celebrities, who hop from person to person and don’t really know about intimacy, only wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am? The truth is power shifts, it becomes a battle, and if you get past that there are further rewards, although it seems like only the educated classes hang in there anymore and don’t get divorced (this is not an opinion, can we quote facts without being excoriated these days?) You need someone of Dexter’s intellect to turn a phrase like this.

And then comes the change!

“But you’re still with me so I guess I’m not complaining

And you always leave my dinner on the stove”

Dexter seems old enough to be channeling the Beatles, knowing that songs need to move, and fast, whereas too many rockers have endless, boring verses before they get to the chorus. As for “dinner on the stove,” yes, you could say that’s sexist, but you’ve got to smile at the previous line, “you’re still with me…” If you haven’t heard this from a woman, you just haven’t been in a relationship long enough, you haven’t let your insecurity flag fly.

The pre-chorus is intoxicating, it’s the ride down the hill of the roller coaster, but the chorus is the twists and turns, a full sensory experience, with all cylinders firing, that guitar wailing, as is Dexter.

“Baby please

If you won’t love me will you hate me

If you won’t violate me well will you just aggravate me

Baby please

It feels like war under the covers,

One way or the other is what I say”

You want to know where you stand. Tell him in black and white, don’t leave him in the no sex no know zone. And the term “violate” has such an edgy connotation, but in this case he wants the woman to do it to him, and the reference to “war” under the covers, you get the image of playfulness, and the truth is sex is mostly mental, and this imagery is stimulating.

“We never have sex anymore

We never make love to our song like we did so long ago

We never have emotional strife

You never even threaten my life like you did so long ago”

“Emotional strife”? STRIFE? Talk about pushing it, and the threatening of your partner’s life…the truth is relationships are volatile, inherently, it’s amazing two people can get along at all, if you’re not having arguments, you’re not engaging, but if it all gets pushed too far…you don’t have sex, your relationship ends.

But underlying this all is a sense of humor, you’re chuckling as you’re listening, while your head is bobbing, you can’t sit still listening to “We Never Have Sex Anymore.”

“We used to do it constantly

We used to have a ball

We used to do it everywhere

We never do it at all”

A killer, the final twist, sex used to be frequent and great, I don’t expect it as frequently, I don’t lie like those in the public eye, but baby this is too hard to handle, give it to me please!

And then there’s that magical instrumental break, which is akin to a carnival, sounds that hearken back decades, but are positively fresh.

“We Never Have Sex Anymore” reaches out and grabs you, either you’ve got to jump ship or go for the entire ride, and it’s so enjoyable you want to go again, to investigate the twists and turns.

The Offspring broke on KROQ, when FM radio used to rule. Now there’s no longer one central place where you can come from left field and enter the arena, maybe TikTok, but that’s more than the song, and “We Never Have Sex Anymore” is complete as is, it doesn’t need a video, the movie is playing in your head, your own!

Not that credit goes solely to Dexter. Bob Rock is the producer, and there’s the band… Yes, this is not a solo effort, this is the rock of yore, a group sound, without features, “We Never Have Sex Anymore” stands on its own. You should check it out, because Dexter understands, and too many do not, it’s good to go back to the garden, to our roots, to see where we came from, maybe like the Offspring we can start again.

Kaleo’s “Skinny”: 

Spotify: https://spoti.fi/39W2Mkz

YouTube: https://bit.ly/2OvLNOy

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